One of the most exciting times as a parent is watching our graduates enter the next phase of their lives – going to college – but moving to a new community, away from home, it’s tragically easy for them to adopt a false sense of security in the campus bubble, surrounded by friends and peers. Human nature is to trust, but it’s critically important to remember that we don’t always know who we can trust, so preparation is essential – just in case a dangerous situation should arise. As part of the application process, it's equally important that parents review the school’s current and past crime statistics and find out the school’s policy on self-defense: does the school prohibit students from protecting themselves? The threats that students face are very real; those who are looking to take advantage of their innocence.
Whether attending a local college or moving away, it’s easy to be casual about the threat of danger, so it’s important to be realistic and discuss safety measures with your students. Consider providing them safety tools for that 'just in case' moment, as well as self-defense training. They have a right to protect themselves.
The statistics are scary:
1 out of 4 college-aged women will be assaulted
1 out of 5 women will be assaulted in their lifetime
60% of home break-ins happen in the daylight hours
A crime happens every 26 seconds
There are easy ways to prevent potential danger:
Situational Awareness - be aware of what’s going on. Stay off the cell phone, remove the headphones, and pay attention to the surroundings. Criminals prey on the unaware. The news is right - unlocked doors and windows are invitation to crime! A portable door or window alarm adds a layer of protection because noise attracts attention to them. Learn landmarks and streets so there is an alternate way around or out of an area, and always, always carry a stun gun or pepper spray! Practice safety in numbers – the 'buddy system' whenever possible. Keep someone informed where you are and what time you'll be home. If the situation feels wrong, it is wrong, and if you see something, say something. Consider carrying a personal alarm and have a pepper spray readily available at all times. If you have a car, always look under it and walk around it to make sure your area is safe. Check inside to make sure nobody is hiding. Never park next to a motorhome or van. Criminals hide behind their fast-opening doors while you're innocently unlocking yours. Always lock your door at the gas station and keep your keys on you. Be vigilant in observing your surroundings, and always, always park in a well-lit, populated area.
If you're invited to a party or someone's apartment or dorm, look at the situation with adult eyes and consider all possibilities. Your job is to not only excel in your classes, it also involves proactive safety in potentially dangerous situations. College is a precious life adventure and the new environment requires personal commitment to awareness, vigilance and safety. This is your only life - protect it as the most valuable thing you own.
Damsel in Defense is here and ready to help you make this adventure a safe success!
Consider Damsel in Defense Safety Tools for your college student.
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